To be or not to be

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Katiebrown54
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To be or not to be

Postby Katiebrown54 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:20 am

An intellectual understanding of the 'no self' has monopolised most of the enquiry.
There are short moments in the day when awareness is aware however this is not established partly because there is some confusion as to what is really being experienced and whether or not the 'ego' is masquerading as the awareness
What are you looking for at LU? An intellectual understanding of the 'no self' has monopolised most of the enquiry. There are short moments in the day when awareness is aware however this is not established partly because there is some confusion as to what is really being experienced and whether or not the 'ego' is masquerading as the awareness and to what extent there is awakening occurring? There is a strong desire to ensure the persona is not directing this enquiry. There is a very strong desire to realise the truth and to live from this truth permanently. A guide would support the consolidation of enquiry, so that 'no self' was experienced as real rather than an intellectual endeavour. The confusion is how established is this 'no self'? Feelings of fraudulence perhaps confuse this also?

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
To expose the remnants of the lingering 'I" and sharpen the focus so as to clearly experience what reality actually is. Tired of the imposter!
To be vigilant in blocking any temptation to intellectualise, to help discriminate between intellect and experience when arriving at understanding, to support in finally finishing off this enquiry, to remain as awareness and not get caught up in the personal me

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
Have been a seeker for decades. For a while there was no awareness of seeking but it showed up in many self help book, writing a book, doing 20years of yoga and trying to figure out its connection to non duality? Then I fell upon Mooji, adyashanti, Tolle, and a number of other utube teachers and have become a utube addict for past 4 years.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self? 10

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gondwana
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Re: To be or not to be

Postby gondwana » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:19 am

Hi Katie!

Firstly great thread title, that one certainly did make me laugh a lot!
I'm Tim and I'd be happy to guide you, if you would like.

The way we do things here (and also this is also what I suspect is needed for you right now) is super simple.

I ask you some straightforward questions, which direct you where to look. You LOOK into your actual experience, in the present moment, and respond with 100% honesty what you see there in that moment.

Your responses give me hints as to what you are looking at, which then help me know where to direct you to look next, and the dialogue continues like this until you clearly see through the illusion of the self. It's a little like two blind people feeling their way over an elephant, trying to decide if they are touching the same object.

If either of them start theorising over the philosophical importance of the elephant, the whole thing goes off track rapidly!

I will never ask you pointless or rhetorical questions, so please answer each question individually. Please take a moment to learn how to use the quote function in order to address each question clearly:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAToDNh9hQ&app=desktop

It is important you answer ONLY FROM ACTUAL EXPERIENCE (i.e. smell, taste, sound, sensation, colour and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided, and may even hinder progress.

It is also vital you agree to suspend all reading of books, blog posts, YouTube videos (especially these), talks and any other form of "spiritual" or seeking media or teachers, for the entirety of our conversation. This is because I need to know exactly what you are seeing in your own actual experience, without the thoughts of others contaminating responses.

What we are looking for here is beyond thought. It cannot be grasped by conceptual thinking. You can only see it in direct experience in the present moment.

Is the above ok for you?

Kind regards,
Tim
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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Katiebrown54
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Re: To be or not to be

Postby Katiebrown54 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:24 pm

Hi Tim

So pleased to have the support you are offering. Thank you for this generosity of spirit.

Happy to begin with a 'super simple," approach. Will endeavour to speak from direct experience rather than to philosophise. There may however already exist some bad habits and confusion due to feeling completely swamped by all the different commentaries on this subject. As a result, Im not completely sure if it's 'my' direct response or an 'expected' response I am giving.
sometimes I wonder if 'I' am having a direct experience or whether I am 'creating' an expected experience from the mind? I do feel I need to spring clean a little and shed much of my previous practices and therefore see the necessity to stay away from utube, books etc while we are in correspondence. Thank you for this suggestion.

Look forward to the questions.

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gondwana
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Re: To be or not to be

Postby gondwana » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:58 pm

Thanks!

And that's quite ok, I had those same doubt about clarity of experience once. We will deal with those as they come up.

Let's start by dealing with any expectations. Do you have any expectations at all about what will happen at the end of this process? Any outcomes or particular "way" you expect things to be?

If you were to see today that there has never been a self, how would life change?
What would be lost?
What would stay the same?

What comes up for you, when I tell you that in fact there has NEVER been a "self" at all?

Looking forward to your response :)
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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Katiebrown54
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Re: To be or not to be

Postby Katiebrown54 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:30 am

Hi Tim

"
Let's start by dealing with any expectations. Do you have any expectations at all about what will happen at the end of this process? Any outcomes or particular "way" you expect things to be?"

The hope is that the sense of a personal I will disappear which will result in not being drawn into dynamics where the I experiences a need to defend or react from a belief of requiring protection. The hope that clear seeing will enable a more peaceful response to the world and the ability to pass this on. Deep down, a desire for self realisation truthfully although there is this appreciation that this is probably only a starting point.
"If you were to see today that there has never been a self, how would life change?
What would be lost?
What would stay the same?"

A true sense of relief for the long journey coming to a supposed end.
A confidence in the management of what shows up.
A strong sense of trust.

What would be lost are feelings of desperation, sometimes feelings of being lost and flat with the road that has been followed?
What would stay the same is my love of truth, clear seeing and th desire to just be.

"
What comes up for you, when I tell you that in fact there has NEVER been a "self" at all?"

At this stage, probably not much comes up about the 'never a self' except for the time seemingly lost in the belief as an identity. That is, There is no shock response
since this concept has been programmed in the mind over time also. There is this feeling of desensitisation.

There is some confusion of what's next, how to 'be' in the world without the concreteness of future plans. There is this definitely this sense of floundering.

Thanks Tim for your first questions.
Thanks!

And that's quite ok, I had those same doubt about clarity of experience once. We will deal with those as they come up.

Let's start by dealing with any expectations. Do you have any expectations at all about what will happen at the end of this process? Any outcomes or particular "way" you expect things to be?

If you were to see today that there has never been a self, how would life change?
What would be lost?
What would stay the same?

What comes up for you, when I tell you that in fact there has NEVER been a "self" at all?

Looking forward to your response :)

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gondwana
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Re: To be or not to be

Postby gondwana » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:18 pm

Ok, good.

Here is an exercise I would like you to try, and report back.

Sit with eyes closed. In your mind, imagine going to the kitchen and getting a piece of fruit which you already have in stock. Imagine the look of it, the colour, texture, reflections of light. Then imagine biting into the fruit, tasting it, the texture, sweetness, sharpness, all the qualities. This is thought.

Now open your eyes, and actually go to the kitchen. Take the piece of fruit and look at it, examine the colour, texture, reflections of light. Now bite into the fruit and taste it, experience the texture, the sweetness, sharpness, etc. This is direct experience.

How does direct experience compare to thought?
Which feels more "real"?
Did the thought fully capture all the detail of the experience?
Can a thought about an experience ever be as complete as the experience itself?
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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Katiebrown54
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Re: To be or not to be

Postby Katiebrown54 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:39 pm

Hi tim
Thank you for the excercise

"How does direct experience compare to thought? "

An apple was chosen for the exercise and was imagined in the mind before actually tasting the apple. When the apple was imagined, it was as if the imagined image was bland, unfocused and difficult to sustain the image.

When the apple was experienced in the kitchen, the colours were much brighter, richer, there was more detail, and imperfections were noticed. Everything experienced was much sharper, thorough compared to the imagined apple in the mind.
Which feels more "real"?
As a result, the direct experience was more real.


Hi Tim

Thank you for your questions below.

Quote
"Did the thought fully capture all the detail of the experience?"

No thought fell short of capturing the details. It was a dull experience.

Quote
"Can a thought about an experience ever be as complete as the experience itself?"

No the excercise demonstrated that thought is inferior and incomplete compared to the direct experience of an object.

Thanks tim, this exercise was useful. Any possibility of our conversations moving a little faster however?
I appreciate your contribution to this process. thank you.

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gondwana
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Re: To be or not to be

Postby gondwana » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:19 am

Great! It seems this is indeed clear, so we can just take a look directly at the "self" and see what's there.

The purpose of the above exercise was simply to establish a common basis of language between us, to support the inquiry. So I'll assume we are clear, that thought can point to one of two things:
Thoughts about actual experience
Thoughts about other thoughts
And that you have seen clearly the difference between actual experience (AE) and thoughts about AE.

Now bring up the thought of "I"/"me"/"self" and look directly at it.
If it helps to bring it up, call out the word "I" out loud and see what arises.
What is there?
Please list everything that comes up when you think of "self".
Then for each on the list, define what it points to (based on the above).

And if you can stretch to it, is it obvious where are "you" still holding on?
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Katiebrown54
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Re: To be or not to be

Postby Katiebrown54 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:10 am

Thanks for your quick reply.

Quote
Now bring up the thought of "I"/"me"/"self" and look directly at it.
If it helps to bring it up, call out the word "I" out loud and see what arises.
What is there?

When I call the word ‘i’ out loud there is just sound and seemingly space around this. There are feelings of disconnection to the body.
Nothing much comes up otherwise?

Quote
Please list everything that comes up when you think of "self".

When I think of self, there is nothing.

Quote
Then for each on the list, define what it points to (based on the above).

What it points to if I understand the question, is there is nothing there just the thought of I.

Quote
Where are you still holding on?

The you, seems to be experienced between the eyebrow centre as a sensation.

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gondwana
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Re: To be or not to be

Postby gondwana » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:40 am

Thanks for your quick reply.
You’re welcome!
When I think of self, there is nothing.

What it points to if I understand the question, is there is nothing there just the thought of I.
That is the ultimate conclusion, yes.

When you first asked for help, you stated that you have an intellectual understanding of this, not a convincing and direct experience of it.

So we need to unpack this conclusion (which may have become just another belief) and buried in there, somewhere, will be one or more places where the belief in a self is still attached. So please stick with it if the questioning seems basic. It is essential to exhaust every corner.

What I was actually asking for, is to take each thing that comes up and identify it as either: thought about an actual experience, or thought about a thought.

There are only 6 things in actual experience:
The seen
The heard
The tasted
The smelled
Sensation
Thoughts*

*just remember that last one is the EXPERIENCE of having thoughts, not the content of thought itself.
When I call the word ‘i’ out loud there is just sound and seemingly space around this. There are feelings of disconnection to the body.
Nothing much comes up otherwise?
“Sound” -> actual experience of sound
“Space” -> what is the actual experience of space?
The you, seems to be experienced between the eyebrow centre as a sensation.
So clearly this one is the actual experience of sensation.

But what tells that this sensation is the experience of “you”?

Is there in fact sensation + thought?

Is sensation personal?

Is any actual experience personal?
e.g. sound; what tells that a sound comes from you, or from something else?
Does the sound come with a label attached saying so?
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Katiebrown54
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Re: To be or not to be

Postby Katiebrown54 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:41 am

Thanks Tim

"The you, seems to be experienced between the eyebrow centre as a sensation".

Quote
"But what tells that this sensation is the experience of “you”?"

" The "you" experience arises from a labelled thought after a sensation is experienced."

Quote
Is there in fact sensation + thought?

"Yes sensation and thought creates the experience of a "me""

Quote
Is sensation personal?

"Because the sensation is experienced in the head, it feels personal - perhaps this is where the confusion arises - when it is experienced in the body it translates to a me?

Quote
Is any actual experience personal?

"Well a sensation in the body sure feels like its personal to this body.However, the feeling of personal arises from the assumption there is a "real"me inthere, rather than a the actual thought of a me instead.

Quote
e.g. sound; what tells that a sound comes from you, or from something else?
Does the sound come with a label attached saying so?

"Yes when recognised that the "me" is a label and therefore a thought, the sound is seen as impersonal because the label or the "experience" of personal, is also a thought."

With the experience of sound and space, the conclusion is there is no me personally which experiences this ...the sensation or sound is both in and outside the body and difficult to decider its location.

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Re: To be or not to be

Postby gondwana » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:30 pm

The "you" experience arises from a labelled thought after a sensation is experienced.
Great! So as you see, this experience you associate with "me" is in fact an impersonal sensation + thought.

Here is an exercise to look at thought carefully:

Sit quietly for about 30 minutes, and notice arising thoughts. Just let them appear as they appear. Do not react or follow them, observe in stillness. Try to COMPLETELY ignore the content (what they are saying) and just notice the process of HOW they appear, without doing anything at all.

- Do you do anything to make a particular thought or thoughts appear?
- Could you have made a different thought appear at that exact moment instead?
- Where do thoughts come from, and where do they go to after?
- Can you predict your next thought?
- Can you pause a thought in the middle?
- Can you stop thought arising altogether?
- Can you choose not to have painful or negative thoughts?
- Is it possible to control thoughts?
- Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing? Including the "I" thought?
the sensation or sound is both in and outside the body and difficult to decider its location.

Yes! Exactly. This was seen clearly!
Well a sensation in the body sure feels like its personal to this body.However, the feeling of personal arises from the assumption there is a "real"me inthere, rather than a the actual thought of a me instead.
Because the sensation is experienced in the head, it feels personal - perhaps this is where the confusion arises - when it is experienced in the body it translates to a me?
This is pretty common, don't worry! Let's take a detailed look at sensation and the body:

With eyes closed, sitting or lying completely still, notice any sensations as they arise. Do not follow thought, take some time to simply observe all sensations passively as and when they arise. Without relying on thoughts, mental images or memories, answer the following...

- Can it be known how tall the body is?
- Does the body have a weight or volume?
- Is there a boundary between the body and the chair/bed?
- Can it be felt where the body ends?
- Can the location of the mind within the body be determined?

Report on the raw sensations, not any thought stream that follows.
Answer all questions individually please.
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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Katiebrown54
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Re: To be or not to be

Postby Katiebrown54 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:29 am

Thank you Tim for your questions.
Before answering these, it's worth emphasising, that seeing sensation plus thought created the feeling of 'l' was very effective last evening and there was definitely this sense of the "personal" removed. This morning however this conviction has wilted again?
How is that?

Your Question

"Do you do anything to make a particular thought or thoughts appear?"

There are no actions to make thoughts appear. They just arise.

"Could you have made a different thought appear at that exact moment instead?"

Whatever appears, appears. Choice of another thought in the exact moment does not arise.


"Where does thoughts come from and where do they go after?"

Seemingly, Thoughts appear from the head as an experience - but stillness enables the seeing that thoughts come from nowhere and vanish into "thin air".

"Can you predict the next thought"?

In general, the next thought is not predictable. However could not the prediction of a thought arise from a physical sensation? For example, could not the prediction of a thought to eat originate from the sensation of hunger?

"Can you pause a thought in the middle"

A thought can pause if distracted and thereafter a new thought arises.

"Can you stop thought arising altogether?"

Periods of stopping but not altogether.

"Can you choose not to have painful or negative thoughts?"

No...although a conscious choice to think "positively" may last temporarily until a new negative thought arises involuntarily.

"Is it Possible to control thoughts."

Can't control thoughts or prevent them from appearing, including the I thought. May this explain how feelings of the I reappeared this morning even though last night there was seeing of the nonexistent l? " Feeling confused.

"Can it be known how tall the body is?"
"Does the body have weight or volume?"

There is no sense of height weight or volume only sensations in the body.

"Is there a boundary between the body and the chair?"

Initially there seem s like a boundary from the arm, back, touching or connecting with the object "chair" then it merges together and boundary disappears.

"Can it be felt where body ends?"

Initially, then not.

"Can the location of the mind within the body be determined?"

Sometime it feels like mind is in the head in front of the eyes and nose. Other times it's experienced as surrounding the entire body and there are no boundaries either inside or out.

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gondwana
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Re: To be or not to be

Postby gondwana » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:01 pm

Thanks for your responses!
Before answering these, it's worth emphasising, that seeing sensation plus thought created the feeling of 'l' was very effective last evening and there was definitely this sense of the "personal" removed. This morning however this conviction has wilted again?

How is that?
You had just a tiny glimpse. Once we are finished, and the concept of "I" is truly seen to be false, this can never be un-seen and will be permanent.

However, this does bring us neatly back to expectations:
Can't control thoughts or prevent them from appearing, including the I thought. May this explain how feelings of the I reappeared this morning even though last night there was seeing of the nonexistent l? " Feeling confused.
Is there perhaps an expectation that, at the end of this process, the "I" thought will be destroyed?
Or that it will be suppressed?

If so, please set that aside expectation now. That will not be the case. We can never end "I" thoughts, just as you have already seen that we cannot permanently end any thoughts in fact.

What WILL happen however, is the "I" thought will be SEEN to be just that -- a thought! Not real. Imaginary. THIS is the realisation that unlocks everything, and allows conditioning to begin to be dissolved. So the "I" thought will still be experienced as it is now, except that it will be known that this is not real. Can you set aside the expectation?
No...although a conscious choice to think "positively" may last temporarily until a new negative thought arises involuntarily.
Conscious choice?
Is there such a thing as conscious choice, in reality?
LOOK very carefully!

You said:
There are no actions to make thoughts appear. They just arise.
Whatever appears, appears. Choice of another thought in the exact moment does not arise.
Is there a thinker, or just thinking?
Do "you" think thoughts, or is thought experienced?
could not the prediction of a thought to eat originate from the sensation of hunger?
LOOK more closely, break up the components. There is no such sensation "hunger".
An indescribable sensation, "like" movement, appearing to originate in the belly, perhaps!

As you have also seen, that last part "originates in the belly" is also a thought, sensations are in fact not located anywhere specific, when you look deeply at them. Re-do the body exercise in my last message if this is not yet clear.
Only thought labels the sensation with a location.

So "hunger" is merely a concept = conceptual thought.
i.e. sensation like movement + thought says "this means hunger"

Then, thought probably also attaches another label, "I" am "hungry" ! Do you see?

Only thought says "this sensation = hungry". Look and confirm whether this is true.
There is no sense of height weight or volume only sensations in the body.
Initially there seem s like a boundary from the arm, back, touching or connecting with the object "chair" then it merges together and boundary disappears.
Do "you" possess a body, or is the body experienced?
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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Katiebrown54
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Re: To be or not to be

Postby Katiebrown54 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:32 am

Thanks for the "pick ups"...so helpful!

"Is there an expectation that at the end of this process the 'i' thought will be destroyed?"

Perhaps there was hope the 'i" experience would disappear rather than the disappearance of an "I" thought. With further inquiry, there is recognition that the reason for this was the belief that the experience was associated with an "I" doing the experiencing. There is also recognition that "i"thoughts will continue just as any other thought may since there is no control of what arises.
So yes, your point is clearly highlighted. Thank you. This expectation has been set aside.

"Is there such a thing as conscious choice"?

There is the experience that seemingly there is choice but then who does the choosing? Choosing happens of its own accord because there is no chooser.

"Is there a thinker, or just thinking?"

There is just thinking.

"Do you think thoughts, or is thought experienced."?

As above, thoughts are experienced as are choices.


"....there is no such thing as hunger."

Understand a label was given to the experience seemingly occurring in the stomach. But again another thought arises...in the stomach.
Confirmed that thought says the sensation is labelled as hunger.

"Do you process a body or is the body experienced?"

There is no "you" that pocesses what is seen as a body. Bodily sensations or sensations are experienced.

Thank you Tim.


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